Rebecca de Havalland
I am based at the Terrence Higgins Trust head office in Gray’s Inn Road as part of the Positive Voices project.
As well as helping with admin tasks in the office, I go out into the community to speak in schools, colleges and businesses to educate people though sharing my experiences as a Post-op Trans* Woman living with HIV.
I first volunteered with Terrence Higgins Trust in 1994 with the fundraising team, using my experience and contacts from running a model agency to help enlist celebrities for World AIDS Day. I have now been volunteering with Positive Voices since October 2016.
I decided to come back to Terrence Higgins Trust to volunteer after coming through some very challenging times in recent years. The strength I had to find within myself has made me want to confront some of the discrimination and stigma that I have faced, both as a Post-op Trans* Woman and as a person living with HIV.
By speaking in schools and colleges I hope that I can break down some of the barriers that stigma presents. I wish to make something good come from the challenges I have faced in life, raising awareness and changing the attitudes that cause ignorance and intolerance around Trans* and HIV issues.
For me, the best part of volunteering with Terrence Higgins Trust is the knowledge that I am helping to challenge people’s attitudes by sharing my story, in the hope that others may benefit from my experience.
I am also growing in confidence and proud to be the person that these experiences have made me. Being a Positive Voices speaker has given me the empowerment to live openly and freely as the person I am.